updated 9/7/2006 4:45:36 PM ET 2006-09-07T20:45:36

The United Auto Workers will not give the same health care concessions to DaimlerChrysler AG’s Chrysler Group that it gave to General Motors Corp. and Ford Motor Co., the union’s president said Thursday.

Ron Gettelfinger, speaking to reporters after a midday speech at the Detroit Economic Club, said the union analyzed Chrysler’s finances and determined the concessions weren’t in the UAW’s best interest.

“The company is in a different situation than what Ford was in and what GM was in,” Gettelfinger said.

He said there are still “ongoing discussions” with Chrysler, but the union isn’t interested in the same deal given to the company’s domestic competitors.

Chrysler spokesman David Elshoff said Thursday that negotiations are still under way and he and couldn’t comment.

Gettelfinger said he is sure Chrysler officials realize their company is different from its competitors. He said that after the union’s analysis was completed, the UAW looked for another way to help Chrysler.

“We did not find a responsible path to follow,” he said, without giving details of what else was discussed.

“They know our first obligation is to our membership,” Gettelfinger said.

Chrysler has said it spent $2.2 billion on health care last year and expects that number to grow to $2.3 billion in 2006. The automaker’s health care costs have nearly doubled since 2000.

U.S. automakers have said that rising health care costs make it difficult for them to remain competitive with foreign rivals.

Under the 2005 agreement with GM, hourly workers would contribute $1 per hour in future pay increases to a new fund to help pay for retirees’ health coverage. Single retirees would pay up to $370 a year in deductibles and fees for their coverage. And most retirees and all active hourly workers would pay higher co-payments for their prescription drugs.

In the deal with Ford, which also was reached last year, retired autoworkers would start paying monthly contributions, annual deductibles and co-payments for some medical services up to a maximum of $370 a year for individuals and $752 for a family.

Hourly workers won’t be required to pay deductibles or monthly contributions, but they will have to contribute part of their future wage increases to a trust for future health care expenses. The agreement also raises the cost of prescription drugs and institutes a $50 emergency room fee for retirees.

Also Thursday, Gettelfinger said there are problems in wage and benefit negotiations among the UAW, struggling auto supplier Delphi Corp. and GM, its former owner.

“We’re just very frustrated with that mess,” he said.

Delphi, which is under Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, should be competitive with concessions already agreed to by the UAW, including early retirements and buyouts for hourly workers, Gettelfinger said.

“It’s simply a matter of greed now,” he said.

Cal Rapson, the UAW vice president in charge of the Delphi talks, said the three parties are still negotiating.

“It makes for very complex negotiations, but we’re giving it 100 percent effort to work our way through,” he said.

On Wednesday, GM Chairman and Chief Executive Rick Wagoner said he remained optimistic that an agreement could be reached, but he called the negotiations complex.

In August, U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Robert Drain in New York delayed until Sept. 18 a hearing on Delphi’s request for permission to scrap its labor contracts and impose lower wages and benefits on hourly workers.

About 12,600 hourly employees represented by the UAW left Delphi under early retirement offers, and more are expected to take buyouts offered by the company and GM by the Sept. 15 deadline.

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